A simpler and more co-ordinated emergency and urgent care system is needed for the NHS in England, a review claims.
Released today, the preliminary report from NHS England, led by medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, says although there has been a “clear improvement” in A&E performance, the issues “will not go away”.
Sir Bruce said the Urgent and Emergency Care Review is an “excellent opportunity” to improve care.
Launched in January 2013, the review aims to develop a national framework for a more safe, efficient system which works 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
NHS England is currently asking for NHS workers to comment on the evidence base, which has been released today.
Professor Sir Bruce said: “Over the past few months, we have been building an evidence base of guidance, reports and data to inform our review – and it is clear that the way we currently deliver urgent and emergency care needs to change.
“A compelling case for change can only be built on evidence and, while not always comfortable reading, it is the only way to have a truly honest discussion. We must keep pace with medical progress and make sure everyone has the best chance of receiving the most appropriate care.”
Professor Keith Willett, NHS England's national director for acute care episodes, said: “At its heart, this review is about bringing together the expertise from across the health and care system to determine how best to organise emergency care in future.
“To relieve the pressure and design a system that is sustainable and fit to meet future challenges, we need as many patients, doctors, nurses and NHS colleagues as possible to get involved.”
The review will develop a national framework for clinical commissioning groups in 2015/16 to help them commission consistent, high quality urgent and emergency care services across the country.
For the short term, NHS England has announced plans to strengthen performance in urgent and emergency care across the country to help hospital A&E departments meet demand and tackle waiting time pressures.
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) chair Dr Peter Carter said: “We are also pleased to see the recognition of the important role that nursing staff will play in improving urgent and emergency care. The report rightly highlights the potential for greater use of community and specialist nursing to provide care out of hospitals.
“We will be working with NHS England to identify how nurses can contribute towards this new system to ensure patients receive the best possible care at all points in the health service.”